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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Russian Ship Returns

MONROVIA, Liberia () -- A Russian freighter stranded at sea for more than three weeks with 450 Liberian war refugees returned to Monrovia on Tuesday with passengers reporting about 10 deaths during the ship's ordeal.

Passengers said about 10 people died as the rusting Zolotitsa roamed the Atlantic Ocean off West Africa short of water and rejected by ports in the region.

Thousands of relatives and friends thronged Monrovia quayside to welcome the malnourished passengers, mainly Liberians. It was not clear how they knew of the Zolotitsa's arrival after it disappeared for more than a week.

Earlier the United Nations said it would join sea and air search for the ship, which had not been heard from for more than a week.